Ochenski: His holy mess 

George W. Bush's Holy Land "crusade" goes bad

Remember when Bush made his comment about how his war on terrorism was a “crusade” and that God was on our side? Well, so do about 1.2 billion Muslims around the world who didn’t think it was all that cool. Which is understandable considering the senseless slaughter Muslims endured in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries when Christian knights pillaged their countryside in a “crusade” to take back the Holy Land.

Jump ahead a few centuries and transpose those knights in shining armor with a goofy Texas rich boy who just happens to command the most powerful armed forces the world has ever seen. Then let him toss around a few casual comments about using “nucular weapons” and pour the gas of a billion-dollar-a-month war on a region already simmering in violence. Let it sit for a while in a warm place and voila! You’ve got your recipe for that famous dish from Crawfish, Texas: The George Bush Holy Land Crusade Gone Bad.

Basically, our boy George is in a very tough spot. Instead of being out hunting eggs and trying to catch a glimpse of the Easter Bunny, old Georgie is down at the Crawfish ranch calling world leaders on the special Red Phone (color coordinated with the “Crisis Level,” brought to you by Tom Ridge and the Office of Homeland Security). And what do you suppose he is telling them? Is he still passing off the line about Osama being on the run and how “we’re gonna get ’im, can’t get away?” No, I don’t suppose he is. After declaring Osama bin Laden the most dangerous evil man in the world, our president now says the guy doesn’t matter…we’ve got bigger problems.

Indeed we do.

Easter week just passed. This is the holiest of holies for Christians, the week when Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead to ascend into heaven. For followers of Judaism, this is the celebration of the Passover, an equally mystical and holy event.

But there is no peace in the Holy Land this year. “O Little town of Bethlehem,” the birthplace of Jesus, is surrounded by Israeli tanks with their barrels pointing in. Meanwhile, Yasir Arafat, the head of the Palestinian Authority, is living on bread, water, and the occasional cell-phone call from his bullet-pocked office —which is likewise surrounded by Israeli tanks with their guns pointing in.

And that’s where Bush comes back into the picture. He’s trying to have an Easter vacation down at the Crawfish ranch, you know, a barbecue and stuff. But the gol’ dang Middle East is a blowin’ up like a rack of fat ribs on one a’ them propane barbecues. And what’s he supposed to do?

So, he gets on the Red Phone.

“Ahh, Faisal? This is George. Huh? George Bush…you know, the Prezdent of Amurica. Well I’m fine—I got the barbecue going and some ribs with that great sauce the little woman makes. But hey, that ain’t why I called. I need to know how it’s going over there. (Long pause.) Oh. I see. Well, what about the war on terror? What’s that? (Another long pause.) I see. Well, OK, ol’ buddy. Y’all stop by and check out some of these ribs next time yer by Crawfish.”

And so it goes. The Arabs are not one bit happy, even when he tosses around “The Carlyle Group” like Dad told him to. He’s so bummed out he almost chokes on a pretzel. Then he decides to call up the French president because, hey, the French, you know, wine, women, food! Always a good time. And what does he find out? That they’re fire-bombing synagogues in France. The more he phones around, the worse it gets.

What happens next is what usually happens when people of truly limited abilities are placed in positions of political extremis. Incapable of, like, you know, absorbing all the details, our president decides to wing it and announces that Arafat should stop the violence, and that he is 100 percent behind Sharon—a guy who, not incidentally, has already told the press he should have killed Arafat 20 years back. But in the meantime–and maybe it happened while George was turning the ribs—the U.S. delegate to the United Nations Security Council voted for a measure calling for the Israelis to stand down. Wouldn’t you know it, just the opposite of GW’s position.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, as they say in Texas, “If you straddle the fence, you get a picket up the butt.” For what it’s worth, looking at the latest pictures of Bush, I’d say he looks like he’s got himself a picket you know where. Just look at that pained expression. You can’t fake that.

So here’s where we are (while following the lead of this wacky Texas cowboy): Palestinians are blowing themselves up at the rate of at least one a day—and taking out a number of bystanders when they go. Their leader, Arafat, is holed up in his office, surrounded by tanks and snipers. But he’s supposed to convince people that if they don’t stop blowing themselves up they’re gonna be in a lot of trouble.

In the meantime, if the Arabs are this mad now, what’s it going to be like when Georgie finally smokes SADdam for Dad? Chances are, there is NO WAY the Arabs will support any such move.

Certainly, our president has a reputation as a go-it-alone cowboy, riding America into battle all over the globe with our spurs going jingle, jangle, jingle. But even so, without Arab consent, there is little chance our Lone Ranger will be able to launch a major crusade into Iraq, topple a standing government, subdue the re-assembling Afghans, and finally get to the real goal—which is to build that pipeline (with taxpayer dollars, no doubt) to the central Asian oilfields.

Whoops! Did I say “crusade”? Up in flames like a rack of fat ribs on a propane barbecue.

When not lobbying the Montana Legislature, George Ochenski is rattling the cage of the political establishment as a political analyst for the Missoula Independent.

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